How gambling affects your relationships 

Does your gambling only affect the one placing the bets? Not quite: it can have a big impact on your relationships too. 

Gambling can be harmless fun, but when it becomes a problem it can have a significant negative effect on your relationships. Here are a few ways problem gambling can strain relationships. 


People who are struggling with gambling problems tend to try and keep their gambling a secret from others, either because they’re spending an excessive amount of money or because they’re spending a lot of time gambling. Lying is also common to cover up compulsive gambling. This secretive behaviour and dishonesty can chip away at trust in a relationship, something that’s very difficult to win back.  


Gambling is usually something you do on your own, and most people prefer to do it in secret so that others don’t see the extent of their losses. Gambling consumes your time and energy, which can leave loved ones feeling neglected or like you’re choosing gambling over them.  

Financial worries 

One of the most obvious strains on relationships when it comes to gambling problems is financial difficulties. People who have gambling problems usually experience significant money problems as they chase the thrill of gambling, or when they try and ‘win back’ their losses, and this can cause huge problems in relationships, especially when combined with secrecy or lying. 

Emotional issues 

Gambling is a rollercoaster of emotions: from the thrill of winning to the despair of chasing your losses. As well as the ups and downs of gambling in its simplest form, there are also complex emotions in the mix – anxiety about paying the bills when you’ve spent too much on gambling, depression from not winning enough, frustration when believing you ‘should’ be winning more.  

Spending time with someone who has mood swings is exhausting, and loved ones may end up feeling frustrated, let down and helpless. 


It’s important that you seek help for your addiction as soon as possible: you won’t be able to repair your relationships until you can start working on putting your addiction behind you. 

Talk honestly to your partner or other loved ones about your gambling behaviour and how you’re feeling. Open communication and honesty is crucial, and having your loved ones on board is a real boost to your commitment to recovery.